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Amplats mulls selling 2 platinum mines; US, Mexico, Canada to end tariffs

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Amplats mulls selling 2 platinum mines; US, Mexico, Canada to end tariffs

TOP NEWS

Amplats mulls selling Twickenham, Bokoni platinum mines, focus on Mogalakwena

Anglo American Platinum Ltd. is mulling the sale of its Bokoni and Twickenham platinum mines in South Africa as part of its divestment strategy, Reuters reported, citing CEO Chris Griffith. The Anglo American PLC unit will shift focus to its flagship Mogalakwena mine, Griffith said, adding that the company could pay higher dividends in 2020.

US, Mexico, Canada outline plan to end steel, aluminum tariffs

The trade dispute between the U.S., Mexico and Canada over aluminum and steel tariffs is set to end as the three countries agreed to drop duties within two days. The U.S. and Canada also agreed to end pending litigation over the tariffs at the World Trade Organization. Canadian steelmaker Stelco Holdings Inc. would actively pursue deals using extra cash it expects to generate from the move, Bloomberg News reported, citing CEO Alan Kestenbaum.

Union appeal over Sibanye Gold-Lonmin merger dismissed by competition court

The Competition Appeal Court of South Africa dismissed an appeal by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union to halt the merger between Sibanye Gold Ltd. and Lonmin PLC. The deal is expected to become effective June 7. South Africa's Public Investor Corp. has a 30% interest in Lonmin and may present another hurdle for the merger with concerns about the value of the deal decreasing since it was announced due to a drop in the Sibanye stock price, Bloomberg News reported, citing an anonymous source familiar with the matter.

BASE METALS

* Sabre Resources Ltd. received two-year renewals of exploration prospecting licenses 3540 and 3542 in Namibia. The company plan to restart exploration on the licenses with a focus on base metals and vanadium.

* Bezant Resources PLC was granted approvals for the updated environmental impact assessment for its Eureka project in Argentina. The approvals provide for a two-year exploration period to May 3, 2021.

* Zambian President Edgar Lungu threatened to "divorce" the local copper units of Vedanta Resources PLC and Glencore PLC amid an increase in mining taxes that sparked tensions between the mining sector and the government, Bloomberg News reported. Amos Chanda, Lungu's spokesman, clarified that the government will not engage in an unlawful seizure of private assets, and that the president was referring to the interest of other investors in the mines. In response, Vedanta's Konkola Copper Mines PLC told Bloomberg News that it was committed to its operations in the country. Glencore's Mopani Copper Mines PLC declined to comment.

* Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. Ltd. President Akira Nozaki said the company plans to boost production of nickel-cobalt-aluminum cathode materials amid increasing demand for batteries, by increasing its capacity to 10,000 tonnes per month by the end of March 2028, up from 4,550 tonnes per month, Reuters reported.

* Glencore's Kazzinc Ltd. took a US$96.5 million impairment on a US$237 million loan it provided in 2013 to Astana Property Management, the private equity vehicle of Kazakhstan's former dictator, Bulat Utemuratov, The Sunday Times reported. The loan was reportedly used to build luxury apartments and a hotel that have performed poorly.

* Indonesia's state-controlled miner PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium (Persero) and unit PT Aneka Tambang Tbk may partner with China's Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt Co. Ltd to build a high pressure acid leaching plant and a rotary kiln electric furnace to process nickel into chemicals for electric vehicle batteries, Reuters reported citing a government statement.

PRECIOUS METALS

* SolGold PLC's preliminary economic assessment for the Alpala copper-gold-silver deposit, part of its 85%-owned Cascabel project in northern Ecuador, outlined a net present value of US$4.1 billion to US$4.5 billion, discounted at 8%, and a 24.8% to 26.5% internal rate of return. The preproduction capex is estimated at US$2.45 billion to US$2.85 billion with a payback of 3.5 to 3.8 years.

* Acacia Mining PLC confirmed that an environmental protection order will be issued against its North Mara gold mine in Tanzania after a government probe revealed that the mine leaked polluted water into nearby communities and rivers. Local daily The Citizen said that the company was slapped with a new fine of 5.6 billion Tanzanian shillings, after previously being fined 300 million shillings. Acacia said operations remain unaffected.

* Matsa Resources Ltd. agreed to sell ore, for up to five years, from its Red October gold mine in Western Australia to be treated at the Sunrise Dam gold mine, owned by AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. unit AngloGold Ashanti AU Ltd. The terms of the agreement were confidential.

* Red 5 Ltd. updated the mineral resource estimate for its King of the Hills gold project in Western Australia to 66.0 million tonnes at 1.5 g/t gold containing 3.11 million gold ounces, for a 65% increase in contained gold.

* Crater Gold Mining Ltd. was granted EPM 26749 in Queensland, Australia, for five years effective April 11. The company applied for the 115.2-square-kilometer tenement to cover possible extensions of the SGH soil anomalies identified at its A2 polymetallic project area.

* Syndicated Metals Ltd. exercised its option to purchase the right to farm‐in to 85% of the Newfield gold project in Western Australia from Newfield Resources Ltd.

* Polymetal International PLC plans to use dry stacking at all new projects, depending on viability, including the under-construction Nezhda and POX-2 projects. The dry stacking technology reduces the probability of dam failure, minimizes potential damages in case of an accident, and eliminates tailings run-off.

* A gold hunter in Western Australia found a 1.4-kilogram gold nugget, worth about A$100,000, The West Australian reported.

* Pan African Resources PLC's gold output for the nine months ended March 31 rose 51.4% year on year to 123,771 ounces from 81,729 ounces on the robust performance of its Barberton complex and Elikhulu tailings retreatment plant, both in South Africa.

* DynaResource Inc. intends to lodge an appeal against a recent court decision that favored Goldgroup Mining Inc. in a dispute over the San Jose de Gracia gold project in Mexico.

* Residents near Kingsgate Consolidated Ltd.'s Chatree gold mine in Thailand are in favor of the mine's restart to boost the local economy, Manager Daily reported, citing a survey conducted by government officials. The mine is under arbitration after the government shut it down in 2016 due to environmental concerns.

BULK COMMODITIES

* Gulf Manganese Corp. Ltd.'s Indonesian unit PT Gulf Mangan Grup secured a direct-shipping-ore license allowing it to export 103,162 tonnes of high-grade manganese ore per year. Mining operations will kick off in June and the subsidiary anticipates initial monthly exports of 1,000 tonnes per month, and a ramp up to 10,000 tonnes per month within six months.

* Incitec Pivot Ltd. expects EBIT in the second half of between A$370 million and A$415 million, including a A$209 million impact from nonrecurring events. In the first half, the company recorded EBIT of A$119 million, including a loss of A$141 million from nonrecurring events, compared to year-ago EBIT of A$240 million. EPS in the half totaled 2.6 Australian cents, compared to 8.8 cents in the first half of 2018.

* Kommersant reported that Amurstal, the only plant in the Far East of Russia that uses electric steel-smelting technologies, is considering an investment of 7.5 billion Russian rubles to enable use of new primary raw materials including hot briquetted iron, according to CEO Sergey Kuznetsov. The plant is looking for an alternative to scrap metal, which is lacking in the Far East.

* BHP Group was using improbable potash price projections to justify the economics of its US$5.7 billion Jansen project in Saskatchewan, The Australian Financial Review reported. The mining giant is said to bank on a price increase of 24% compared to current prices to deliver a project return of up to 15%. Mosaic Co. CEO Joe O'Rourke said that is unlikely as there is little need for new supply. Nutrien Ltd. CEO Charles Magro also said BHP could not gain profit quickly as greenfield potash projects generally have difficulties to create long-term shareholder value.

* The reelection of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison could boost approvals for Adani Enterprises Ltd.'s long-delayed Carmichael coal project in Queensland, Reuters reported, citing Minerals Council of Australia CEO Tania Constable.

* The U.S. is reducing tariffs placed on steel and aluminum imported from Turkey to 25% from 50%, Reuters reported.

* Clive Palmer threatened to sue Citic Ltd. for "substantial damages" if Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan proceeds with his plan to change a state agreement removing the need for the approval of Palmer's Mineralogy Pty Ltd. for the Sino-Iron expansion project, The Australian Financial Review wrote.

* France's Naval Group would be interested in taking over thyssenkrupp AG's marine division if the company offers the unit for sale, Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine reported, citing a source close to the French company, according to Reuters. Thyssenkrupp recently said it would be open to new ownership structures for its units.

* Flooding at Xilin Iron & Steel Group Co. Ltd.'s newly launched Cuihongshan iron ore mine in China's Heilongjiang province left nine people trapped underground while 34 were rescued, Reuters reported citing state media reports.

SPECIALTY

* Ganfeng Lithium Co. Ltd. agreed to a strategic investment in Bacanora Lithium PLC and its 70% owned Sonora lithium project in Mexico. The company will secure a 29.99% interest in Bacanora, and an up to 50% interest in the project. The investment funds will be used for construction of an initial 17,500-tonne-per-annum lithium carbonate operation at Sonora.

* JSC National Atomic Co. Kazatomprom agreed to sell its 75% ownership in Astana Solar LLP, LLP Kazakhstan Solar Silicon and KazSilicon MC LLP. The company is selling its noncore subsidiaries as part of its complex privatization plan for 2016 to 2020.

* Lynas Corp. Ltd. signed a memorandum of understanding with Blue Line Corp. to build a rare earths separation facility in Texas. The proposed joint venture, to be majority-owned by Lynas, will initially focus on heavy rare earths before dealing with light rare earths. Lynas is considering building new facilities amid regulatory issues related to the removal of radioactive waste from its Gebeng rare earths plant in Malaysia.

* Galan Lithium Ltd. received permits for a fresh round of drilling at its Candelas brine project in Argentina and is now looking to start production inside the window of what has been tipped as a major supply shortage looming within the next five years. Managing Director Juan Pablo Vargas de la Vega said at the Latin America Down Under conference in Perth, Australia, that a maiden resource is now "in sight," likely in the third quarter.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* Chinese scrap metal imports are expected to slump this month due to uncertainty surrounding new restrictions on copper, aluminum and steel scraps, Reuters reported.

* The Canadian government will invest more than C$325,000 in the Mining Association of Canada for a project that will develop best practices and guidance for the mining sector on climate change risks and adaptation measures.

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